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1 Jun 2020

USA: Company executives speak out against racism following the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor & Tony McDade by police

On 25 May 2020, white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pinned George Floyd to the ground, keeping his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, killing him. Three additional officers were involved. All four officers have been fired by the Minneapolis police department and Derek Chauvin has been charged with murder and manslaughter. 

The killing of George Floyd was preceded by the killing of 26-year-old African-American emergency room technician Breonna Taylor in Kentucky by police in her own home and of Tony McDade, a Black trans man, in Florida. The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade by police are part of a larger pattern of police brutality against Black Americans and in the majority of cases, the perpetrators have not been held accountable. Despite only making up 13 percent of the US population, Black Americans are two-and-a-half times as likely as white Americans to be killed by the police. (NPR's Code Switch has created this (non-comprehensive) list of the names of Black people killed in the US by police since 2014.)

Protests against systemic racism and police brutality against Black people and in support of justice, accountability, and equity have spread across the United States. In addition, over 600 organisations signed on to a letter requesting a Special Session of the Human Rights Council on police violence in the US.

Executives at companies such as Citi, Netflix, Nike, Twitter and others made statements against racism and some have expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement. More information about these statements and actions by companies is below.

In addition, Sherrell Dorsey at The Plug is curating a list of statements by tech companies against racism; the full list is available here and an infographic is here. Guns Down America is also tracking company statements and investments here. Sharon Chuter, founder and CEO of UOMA Beauty, has launched the "Pull up or Shut Up" campaignwhich urges brands to share the number of Black employees they have working in their companies and in leadership.